Zimbabwean linked to SA’s Monday shootout

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Back view of a police officer Credit:News24

South African police on Wednesday arrested a 42-year-old Zimbabwean linked to Monday’s Rosettenville shootout, in Tembisa.

The police said they searched a yard housing 20 rented rooms in Phomolong Section in Tembisa and recovered four assault rifles, five pistols, rifle and pistol magazines, more than 1 000 rounds of live ammunition, channel jammers, G4S and SAPS bulletproof vests and uniforms in the room rented by the Zimbabwean.

A neighbour said they had long suspected that the man was possibly involved in criminal activities, but they were afraid to report him to the police. The neighbour said:

“He was not friendly. He was a loner. I have never seen him with a woman. He was always alone, locked in his room. He always left his room carrying two heavy black bags.

“His BMW sedan was always parked on the street. We feared him. He didn’t smile nor have a conversation with anyone in the neighbourhood.”

Another neighbour said the man was wounded in his leg in December, was limping and walking on crutches but he quickly healed. Added the neighbour:

“Last month I saw him jogging. His fellow tenant once told me that there was only a bed and candles burning inside his room.

“A friend told me that he kept candles burning in his room throughout the day. We then thought he was a spiritual person until we were proven wrong on Wednesday night when he was arrested with guns. He had shocked us. The time has arrived that we must know each other in the neighbourhood.”

The man was part of a gang of 25 heavily armed men who were accosted by the police before they could rob a money van on Monday.

A shootout ensued in which eight gunmen were fatally wounded, and four officers wounded and hospitalised. Ten suspects were arrested. Eight (8) members of the 25-member gang involved in cash heists in Gauteng and Kwazulu Natal (KZN) were shot dead in the shoutout.

Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Thandi Mbambo said the suspect was arrested in Tembisa. The arrest brings the number of arrests to 11.

Police found a 9mm pistol in his possession. He is believed to be the one who shot at a helicopter and injured the pilot.

He is expected to appear in the Tembisa Magistrate’s Court tomorrow (Friday).

The Hawks were also checking if the suspect was in the country illegally. – News24